Air and Water Chemistry for Kids

Authored by Dr. Jeff Bennert

Chemistry is the study of matter: its composition, structure, and properties. In other words, chemists study what the world is made of and how different substances interact. Learning about chemistry can help you understand numerous phenomena in your daily life. If you’ve ever wondered how bread turns into toast or how a cucumber turns into a pickle, you may be surprised how many answers you can find in a chemistry classroom. Of course, you don’t have to wait to take chemistry in school! A lot of chemistry is best learned through experimentation. Begin your journey by trying out some online games, reading up on chemistry basics, and conducting a few simple experiments of your own.

Beginning with the Basics

Perhaps you’ve wondered why air can make a balloon expand. An understanding of chemistry begins with an understanding of the structure of matter. To get a basic sense of chemistry, you’ll have to learn about the tiny particles that make up the world: molecules and, even smaller than that, atoms. For example, when scientists measure the purity of the air you breathe or the water you drink, they may assess the molecules of various substances in the water. Chemistry can also explain the differences that exist between water, ice, and steam. By first learning about the building blocks that make up all matter, you can start to explore more advanced topics, like changes in state, chemical reactions, and the formation of chemical compounds.


Chemistry Activities and Games

Once you’ve read up on the basics of chemistry, you can check your knowledge of some simple themes through games and other fun activities. Chemistry can be a fun subject for all ages. Excellent chemistry students usually need to memorize a lot of information. The good news is that there’s no hurry to do so. Educational games are a great way to make sure that you understand some of the basics of the subject. For example, if you can recognize the symbols for some common elements, it will be much easier to read the instructions for simple experiments later on. Very quickly, you’ll be able to start exploring the ways that chemistry is related to all different parts of life. From radiation to water purity to weather patterns, chemistry is everywhere.


Learning through Experiments

When it comes time to really study chemistry in earnest, there’s no replacing laboratory experience. Performing experiments is a great way to really understand chemical reactions, first-hand. It doesn’t matter what your level or your background in science is. If you choose experiments from reliable sources and you follow the instructions carefully (with adult supervision if required), you can learn about virtually any aspect of chemistry. Many beginning students imagine that chemistry experiments require fancy equipment or expensive materials. In fact, to conduct many fascinating chemistry experiments, you probably have all the equipment you require right in your kitchen. When doing chemistry experiments, remember to follow all the necessary safety procedures. Wear protective eyewear, gloves, and a smock, if advised in your experiment directions. Experiments are also an excellent opportunity to learn about the scientific method. Remember to follow each step in your experiment, forming your own hypothesis at the very beginning and analyzing your data carefully at the end. Plus, remember that you can’t know beforehand exactly how an experiment will turn out. If something happens that’s different from your expectations or from what you saw in the instructions, look for the opportunity to learn. Conduct the experiment again and notice if your results are different. By making a single change to the experiment (changing a “variable”), you can examine what’s causing your results.